Tizzard hails Cheltenham Festival dark horse Alary

Finian’s Oscar gave Colin Tizzard his 11th Pattern win of the season

PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos) Tizzard hails Cheltenham Festival dark horse Alary By Jon Lees 11:29AM 8 JAN 2017

COLIN TIZZARD said on Saturday it was hard to know who could beat Thistlecrack at his King George-winning best, but revealed that Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup dark horse Alary is "bloody good" from what he had seen at home.

The new year began as the last one had ended for the trainer, with Finian's Oscar recording the stable's 11th Pattern win of the season in the 32Red Tolworth Hurdle, nearly every one of which is followed by a request for an update on stable stars Thistlecrack, Cue Card and Native River – all of which are delivered without complaint.

And Tizzard had brief news of Alary, runner-up in the Grade 1 Prix la Haye Jousselin and who was recruited from France as a potential Gold Cup candidate.

He had been pencilled in to make his debut in the Cotswold Chase on January 28 but that race is now the next target of Thistlecack.

"Alary was very good this morning on the gallops," said Tizzard. "I don't know when he will run but he's bloody good, I'll tell you that."

Alary, who will race in the colours of Ann & Alan Potts, is currently a general 33-1 shot for the Gold Cup on March 17.

Native River also worked for the first time since the Welsh National yesterday while Thistlecrack and Cue Card were quickly back on the work tab after Boxing Day.

"Two days afterwards they were back cantering," he said. "Cue Card may have paid for chasing Thistlecrack out in the country – may have.

"He probably didn't run to his lofty mark of 176 that day. Is there any way anything could beat Thistlecrack, as good as he is at the moment? It's hard to know how you would beat him.

"We were having a laugh about it the other day and I said to Tom Scudamore, ‘All you have to worry about Tom Scu is when you are at Cheltenham three out and look between your legs and see a white face you will know it's Native River coming towards you'.

"It's unreal that I've got these beautiful horses and we've got to enjoy it."

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